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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword


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I thought you would try your hardest to hate it because of the Motion Control element. This reflects very badly on me, and very well on you. Kudos.

Thing is, I'm not "anti" per se. When the Wii came out, I was excited enough to bag one at launch. I like games. I'm interested in new concepts. However, I found the Wii lacking. I didn't like Wii Sports much apart from having a few rounds of tennis with mates after a couple of beers. Twilight Princess got boring quickly. I loved the Galaxy games, but if they cut out the waggle stuff I wouldn't have missed it. The abundance of party games sickened me, and Sony and Microsoft jumping in even more. Party games. Mini games. Proper games let down by poor tacked on shite. Dumbed down games where generous correction got in place of skill. It turned me into a cynic. "I'll believe it when I see it."

I've seen it.

It's here.

It did take 5 bloody years though, mind. And Scottcr still has terrible taste in games.

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Two hours in and it's fucking glorious. I feel like I'm 10 years old again it's amazing.

Also, that bit where

after the race, at the end of the ceremony where she leans in reaaaaaal close to Link and then asks if he remembers what comes at the end of the ceremony IS A MASSIVE FUCKING TEASE. Fuck you, Nintendo :lol:

Current status: happy (that boner I had earlier has given way to soiling my underwear)

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Holy shit this is well good.

It really is, but the picture quality is so bad I'm wondering if something's wrong with the file. There are just-perceptible vertical lines all across the screen, and in some of the cutscenes the textures in the background (especially dark ones) start artifacting like fuck. I know the Wii outputs in standard definition or whatever and it's not going to look great on HDTVs, but the Galaxy games for example looked fine - nowhere near as grainy and glitchy and outright horrible as this. Weird. It's really annoying because the characters, art, environments are all incredibly well designed - really impressive.

What do we think? Dodgy file, or is this how the game ... actually ... looks? :blink:

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Just some impressions from a 'hardcore zelda player' over on Neogaf, this thread could do with some negative feedback on the game for balance, so heres some of his. Beware, theres a few spoilers here and there:

Completed the game in 25 hrs 32mins first time through.

Completed the mode everyone knows about but I am not sure I can mention in just over 16 hours, died many times.

On a third play through now, 12 hours in and just near the end of the game.

Total time spent on game: Over 50 hours so far

PROS

Boss Battles

Skyward Sword had some of the best boss battles yet. The Ghirahim fight in Skyview Temple first gets you accustomed to the demands of mastering the motion controls for sword combat. Scaldera is a frantic battle where you’re constantly running back and forth, and who knew using mere bombs could provide that level of tension. The scorpion boss was only a let down because I had seen it already at E3 2010, and it’s honestly the weakest of the boss fights. The battle with Tentalus has an awesome build up – you have to escape the flooding decks below while avoiding barrels crashing down and tentacles trying to choke you. Koloktos wasn’t that great, and I wish the undead Bokoblins he summons would have been more menacing or something. The second battle with Ghirahim was pretty cool – taking what you saw in the first battle, and forcing you to refine your precision even further. There is also a miniboss battle with a robotic pirate that was a good challenge, too. I also really liked the final boss because it forces you to master the parry mechanic, and at first it actually was quite challenging. I actually liked the setup for that finale, too.

Boss Battle Music

Some of the best music in the game is during the boss encounters. I can’t say enough about how good that stuff was, and it only elevated the experience in each boss fight.

Most of the Soundtrack

With the exception of the dungeon music, the overall soundtrack is pretty darn good. Finally some fully orchestrated tracks. The ending credits music is absolutely phenomenal.

NPC Side Quests

This is exactly what I was looking for when I heard about the “changes” coming to Zelda. While this isn’t exactly a new concept, the way it’s executed – borrowing from more modern RPG quest systems – is what I wanted. Complete quests to earn rewards, take on multiple quests at a time, and actually have decisions you make in certain quests drastically alter the course of certain threads. It’s just too bad this was rendered an optional segment you could completely ignore and not made a more integral part of the main objectives.

Lanayru Mines

What a great dungeon. This is something I’ve wanted to see for awhile, a dungeon that makes use of time mechanics in a clever way. This was easily the best dungeon in the game, IMO. I loved the new Beamos enemies, which are so fun to kill (slash, slash, STAB!).

Sandship

This is Skyward Sword’s “Snowpeak Ruins”. A dungeon that’s not entirely expected and a different setting than we’re accustomed to. It doesn’t quite nail it like Snowpeak, but it has its moments.

The Combat

I was honestly the most skeptical of this aspect. You all know how vocal I was in my complaints with Twilight Princess. I will still say I will prefer traditional controls, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Motion Plus capabilities. There are instances where you do have to be patient and precise, but the one biggest flaw is that most of the time after you land that first hit, you can just spam waggle away. You saw how I did it in some of those videos I posted. To be fair, some enemies will not allow this, but most let you get by. However, it is the parry system that I loved the most. I absolutely want every single Zelda game from now on to have a parry system like this. Skill based that requires timing and good reflexes. The only thing I will say is please, dear lord, make it a button input going forward. My left arm will thank you.

Motion Controls With Items

With the exception of the bomb, I really liked how the controls worked in favor of many of the items. The quick draw for the bow, steering the beetle, and cracking the whip. I had no problem with any of these things, and in fact, found them enjoyable. In some cases, I preferred it over any other method of control.

Upgrade System

While there is no real incentive to actually have to upgrade anything, it’s a good option to have. Being able to improve your current gear through loot hoarding is a marked improvement over simply earning better versions in dungeons.

Item Durability (Shields)

This is something I welcome, and wish they would expand upon (just for items, please – see my stamina rant below). Having to take into account your shield can break if you just carelessly block is just another thing you have to factor into the struggle to survive combat and dungeons. It also rewards those who are skilled.

Checkpoints in Dungeons

Usually when you died in a dungeon in Zelda, you were sent to the start and had to backtrack your way to the point you left off, with the exception being maybe in a boss fight. Now, you can save at multiple spots, making it easier to reload to a checkpoint should you fall in battle.

Boss Replay Mode

The information about this mode is out there, so I say it’s fair game to discuss. And it’s an important thing to discuss. You actually get rewarded for your efforts here, beating bosses quickly and in succession for better prizes. It’s like the arena challenge you see in other RPGs. I hope they put more things like this into future games.

CONS

The First Two Dungeons

Absolutely cookie cutter design, boring puzzles, and almost no personality. They’re also incredibly short – some of the shortest dungeons I’ve ever seen in a 3D Zelda game.

The Warp System

Every single 3D Zelda game has had a warp system. Once you got access to it, you could easily access pre-determined spots by either playing a song or by hitting a simple button and picking your destination. Skyward Sword needlessly complicates this. You unlock points you can “warp” to when you descend below the clouds, but should you want to travel anywhere else just within that zone and don’t feel like running to it, you have to find a bird statue outside, warp to the sky, pull a 180, fly back to the drop zone, and then warp. Seriously? Why can’t I just warp to the spot I already activated in fewer steps than that?

The Sky

The density of islands is even less than The Wind Waker. With the exception of a few islands, most of them are just spots to collect Goddess Cubes or are pointless rocks with enemies that try to cause trouble but never come close to pulling that off. As a result, the sense of exploration is diminished, which ties into…

The Overworld

Now that I’ve seen what Aonuma said recently, it all makes sense. Skyward Sword’s overworld was designed like a Mario game, but without everything that makes a Mario level great. Each zone of the three major regions is like a course in a 3D Mario game, but take away all the cool and fun objectives and the sense of being in a virtual play ground. If you’re going to curtail the overworld by killing the large, seamless nature that’s been enjoyed since Zelda 1 (and only eschewed in a few spin-offs), you need to give us more “density”. Most of these zones are barren and bland, with few real objectives other than the essential task at hand.

Backtracking to Skyview Temple When Trying to Advance to the Fourth Dungeon

What a terrible design choice and a poor excuse at padding. You go back to a dungeon you already completed, and yes it has no new enemies, but you just retread the same ground and have to revisit the same rooms again with almost nothing new added. Not even like remixed puzzles or anything. Just literally backtrack through the damn thing. If you neglected to open up the two shortcuts in that dungeon on your first pass, you’re going to have to cover even more ground and it’s just boring and pointless.

Backtracking in General

Most of you hated the Temple of the Ocean King. Revisiting the same dungeon, having to go through the same areas you already completed, only to get to the new stuff. Well, that’s what Skyward Sword’s overworld is. You go to these zones, complete your objectives, move on, only to come back later – at least two more times each. And most of the time, you have to cross the same areas again just to get to the new parts. You see, in previous Zelda games, you went to new zone, and you usually didn’t leave it until you had made your way through the entire thing. Sure, sometimes it meant going back somewhere to get an item before you go go ahead, but you weren’t going to new areas until you completed that zone. This ties into that density argument, too.

Faron, the Dragon

For the love of god, what is your f-ing problem you stupid dragon. I prove to you I’m a hero despite your deplorable powers of observation, but each time I come back to you, you still don’t believe I’m worthy. I f-ing crossed how many zones, fought how many bosses, and solved how many dungeons? Plus, after a certain cutscene that has major spoilers which I won’t mention here, Faron still refuses to acknowledge you. WORST EXCUSE FOR FETCH QUESTS EVER. I am so glad you are never seen again in the series.

The Silent Realm

Collecting the Tears of Light in Twilight Princess was a tedious task each time, but at least you weren’t forced to resort to stealth to get each one. It’s not completely bad, but it’s just not that fun. The AI of the monsters trying to get you is pretty stupid (they move incredibly slow and are rarely a threat if you have any skill whatsoever). Farore’s Silent Realm is in particularly frustrating because of the geographical layout with all the trees and hills obscuring your view of items, even when you can activate the ability to see beams of light coming from your targets.

The Swimming Controls

They handle the same as the flight controls, except you shake the nunchuk for a speed burst rather than press A. The flight controls worked so well, IMO, because you were in a wide open space where you rarely had to be that precise. You could afford to sway a bit and stray off course without any real consequence. Swimming in this game requires a bit more precision, and you’re almost always navigating tight spaces. Couple that with the fact you also have to hold the Wii Remo steady while SHAKING the nunchuk to perform a straight “boost” (something required often), and it’s just asking for trouble. I have absolutely no idea why I was forced to use tilt controls for swimming instead of the analog stick. It did not add anything, it didn’t even make sense. It just got in the way.

The Stamina Gauge

This is a joke. I have been able to enjoy rolling around, climbing walls, and doing whatever I want in terms of mobility in every single Zelda game, but now I am restricted by an arbitrary mechanic designed to artificially increase the challenge. It’s a limitation that I do not welcome and I find quite infuriating. Plus, we’re talking about somebody who tackles all of these dungeons and battles and such, but he can’t run 20 feet without having to catch his breath. How out of shape is this guy? I would have been more inclined to accept this crap if there was some sort of enhancement to it, like upgrading your stamina. You can get a potion to handle that, but it’s temporary and not adequate enough. Please, never ever bring this mechanic back. It sucks.

Dungeon Music

My ears, they bleed. Okay, Skyview Temple’s music wasn’t that bad, but it only gets worse from there. Most of the music is just too subtle and doesn’t stand out compared to previous games. And while I loved Lanayru Mines, it has the worst dungeon theme in the series. I think it was designed to be a part of the challenge because it torments you with its annoying tune that loops and loops and loops … driving you insane.

Item Variety

Remember Zelda 1? Remember how it had 8 usable, key items (some more useful than others). Skyward Sword reverts right back to those days – eight items, yay! Actually, no, bad! You see, people were bitching about how annoying it was that you got an item and used it in one dungeon and then never, ever used it again. Well, here you go, this is what it’s like on the flip side. Dungeons that require you to re-use the same items over and over again. To be fair, that’s not a bad thing, and actually something they could try to use again if improved, but the end result is that you see the same types of puzzles over and over and there’s little surprise in what to expect next. Not to mention, this also ties into my problem with some of the dungeons – they lack the great atmosphere and personality that came with catering the layout to a unique item. I’m not saying you absolutely have to have a unique item to have a unique dungeon, but Nintendo didn’t really tap into their imagination here, or come close to the ingenuity of many of the previous dungeons with the exception of Lanayru Mines and maybe the Sandship dungeon. I prefer dungeons like Twilight Princess’ Snowpeak Ruins, Ocarina of Time’s Spirit Temple, or Majora’s Mask’s Stone Tower Temple.

Lack of Memorable Characters

Except for Groose, I just didn’t give a damn about anyone in this game other than Link or Zelda. Groose easily is the most developed character who sees the most genuine shift in personality with actual actions that justify his metamorphosis. Everyone else is set in autopilot, never changing, always static, very dull and forgetful. The Wind Waker had great characters, and even Twilight Princess, with its low NPC count, had better characters and development. Which brings me to..

Ghirahim, the Villain

He is absolutely the worst villain to ever grace this series. Go ahead, get upset. His theatrics and flamboyant nature DOES NOT MEAN HE IS A GOOD VILLAIN. It comes off as incredibly stupid, and you never fear this guy. He has no development, either. All you have to go on is what he says, that he’s some Demon Lord. You never, ever see him do anything evil other than just try to fight Link. Villains who are evil just because the story says they are evil are some of the most shallow, worst villains imaginable. I discussed this with another reviewer, who saw people on several boards comparing Ghirahim with Kefka. They are not on the same level, not even close. We actually see Kefka do terrible things (poison the water, betray people, straight up murder comrades, etc), and we know he is insane and an evil bastard because of his actions. Ganon, after what we saw in The Wind Waker, was at least a flawed being we could sympathize with. He was fighting for something, even if he was misguided and twisted by hate. Ghirahim is nothing compared to these villains, even Vaati is a superior villain whom I had more respect for. If I don’t care about the main villain or have any real fear from him, all the tension goes out the window. Nintendo failed miserably with him.

You Don’t Lose Health if You Fall in a Hole

Since Zelda 2, this has always been the case. You lost at least a heart usually if you fell into a gap or hole. Not here. I admit it’s not a huge issue, but it means the game is more forgiving in this regard.

HO-HUM (Not great, not bad)

The Visuals

Hate to be cliche, but hit or miss. The game is designed to look good in certain instances, usually more scenic views. There are a lot of things up close that look terrible. We’re talking textures that would be common place in the N64 era here. It was an admirable attempt to do what they could with the aging hardware, but I just don’t think the style worked well enough in the end.

Lack of Geographic Diversity

Forest. Volcano. Desert. Better get used to those three types of zones. Sure, you have the sky, but as I said, it’s sparsely populated. There is also a Lake, but you barely do anything there other than revisit Faron in her chambers downstream or make your way to Ancient Cistern.

Difficulty

This game wasn’t that hard, but it also wasn’t a complete joke. Hero mode was a nice addition, but if you get the heart medal, it’s not that hard. No remixed dungeons or anything like Master Quest, just you take more damage. Better than nothing.

I welcome some of the mode additions, ho hum. I'll judge the game for myself. The lovely reviews still outweigh the bad out there anyway.

edit: If hes correct about exploration though, I will be pissed. Its something Nintendo should get right by now.

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Parts of it do look a bit like a dog's dinner, other parts look OK. For me it doesn't really rise above 'adequate' so far, it lacks the vibrancy of the Galaxy games for example - a drawback of the watercolour colour palette probably. Playing it the weekend after Uncharted 3 isn't doing it any favours either when it comes to presentation obviously.

But who plays Wii games for their graphics? That race was lost 5 years ago. It looks nice enough when playing and it does have a character and charm of its own; which Twilight Princess lacked IMO.

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I'm demoing it on Dolphin. I had to try a couple versions and fiddle with the set ups, but apart from a slight glitch on the ground every so often - it was running far better than I anticipated. The first version of Dolphin I tried had major banding issues on the locations but not on the characters. I wonder if that's ann C's problem amplified on the Emulator?

My punishment for playing this early? Whose high def graphics will spoil my Wii time on it next week, for a little while. I'm fine with the old SD look of the Wii, but Dolphin gives you a very tantalizing what if - whilst showcasing just how much effort Nintendo's artists put into the game.

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Maybe it was because I played the Gamecube version but I found Twilight Princess to be an incredible return to form after the bloated and unfinished feel of Wind Waker.

I really don't get the hate for such a great game. It's so much more cohesive and complete than wind waker although it doesn't have the wonderful aesthetic charm that WW has.

Sometimes I think people claim to have played games when they really haven't.. WW is visual beautiful although really one of the most lackluster games in the series when you peel away that veil.

I think you've misunderstood me. I don't hate TP, I just think the review scores could have been bumped up a bit due to the thrill of the new.

TP is one of my least favourite Zeldas, but Zelda on a bad day is still better than the vast majority of stuff out there.

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It looks good on your TV? I think maybe my TV is the problem.

No, it's a Wii and it's 480p with no antialiasing, so if you're used to your 1080p monitor and uber graphics card and games like Metro 2033 with super advanced graphical options, then it's going to look pretty old. In fact to me, my brain is treating it as a game from last gen.

It looks pretty despite the Wii's limitations. As they say, aesthetics are more important than graphics.

Also, I'm using a CRT and scart so those hard lines and jaggyness are nowhere near as apparent on my TV.

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It looks good on your TV? I think maybe my TV is the problem.

I'm with you on this, the image quality really is appalling on my TV, so much so that I spent ages fiddling around with the TV thinking something was wrong. It's like it's not running in 480p, with scanlines / interlace issues, almost like looking at a video file with interlace issues on a PC.

Glad to know I'm not going crazy, and obviously if that's the way it's meant to look then I will adjust. And it's not just coming off the back of HD glory, as I've been playing a couple of other Wii titles recently and they look fine on the TV, but this just looks a bit broken. Weird...oh well, apart from that it's awesome for sure. How am I going to split time between this and my copy of Skyrim that the kind postman delivered today, what to do, what to do....

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